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Minister Mate to visit Albania and attend the Announcement of the Beginning of Dialogue on Visa Liberalisation – Announcement

Dragutin Mate, Slovenian Minister of the Interior and President of the Justice and Home Affairs Council, will join Franco Frattini, Vice-President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security, who will announce the beginning of dialogue on visa liberalisation with the Republic of Albania during his visit to Tirana on 7 March 2008.

In November 2006 the Council authorised the Commission to open negotiations with Albania on visa facilitation. The negotiations were concluded in April 2007 while the agreement was signed in September. For all Western Balkan countries, including Albania, visa facilitation agreements entered into force this year. The agreements envisage the possibility to initiate dialogue on a visa free regime, which can be done by the European Commission on its own initiative. So far, Vice-President of the European Commission Franco Frattini has announced the beginning of dialogue on visa liberalisation with Serbia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro.

Slovenia supports the beginning of dialogue with the Western Balkan countries, as this will contribute to their drawing closer to the European Union faster. Furthermore, it is one of the priorities of the Slovenian EU Presidency.


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Date: 28.03.2008